Spending Daily January 22, 2013

Spending Daily January 22, 2013

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Spending Daily | January 22, 2013

Debt Ceiling Vote Wednesday, GOP Pushing “No Budget, No Pay”
The Hill reports, “House Republicans on Monday unveiled legislation that will suspend the debt ceiling until mid-May, setting the stage for a floor vote as soon as Wednesday.  The House Rules Committee posted the text of the legislation as Washington prepared for President Obama’s second inauguration. In addition to preventing default, the bill would withhold members’ pay if Congress fails to pass a budget by April 15. The Rules Committee will hold an emergency meeting to discuss the legislation Tuesday, setting up a vote as soon as Wednesday on the House floor. House Republican leaders are using the bill to put pressure on Senate Democrats to pass a budget, which they have failed to do for over four years.”

Obama ‘Almost Mocked Idea of Deficit Reduction’ in Inauguration Speech
Business Insider reports, “Obama used his second Inaugural Address today to spell out his big ideas for his second term. The real bombshell was what he didn’t include, however. He could have included a serious paragraph about a ‘Grand Bargain’ to reduce the deficit. It would have been seen as a ballast to anchor the liberalism, and an olive branch to the GOP. Instead, he only addressed it in a half-hearted manner. In fact, he almost mocked the idea of deficit reduction. … Prior to today, there had been some talk that Obama would pursue deficit reduction, as part of his legacy project in his second term. But it’s pretty clear that ship has sailed. During the debt ceiling fight and the fiscal cliff fight, Obama was (widely reportedly) willing to make cuts to entitlements in exchange for higher taxes from Republicans.They never found that deal.”

Top Dem Promises to Pass First Budget in Three Years
Reuters reports, “Senate Democrats for the first time in more than three years will pass a budget, a senior Democratic lawmaker said on Sunday, fulfilling a basic task that Republicans have been urging them to do. Senator Charles Schumer said, however, the spending plan will include proposed new revenue despite Republican warnings that they will not go along with any more tax increases. ‘We’re going to do a budget this year and it is going to have revenue in it, and Republicans ought to get used to that,’ Schumer of New York, the Senate’s No. 3 Democrat, told NBC’s ‘Meet the Press.’ … This has drawn the ire of Republicans who accuse them of a dereliction of duty that has undermined efforts to reduce spending and the U.S. debt. …Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, appearing on NBC with Schumer, called the House Republican plan ‘a step in the right direction’ and accused the Democratic-led Senate of not doing its job.”

Inaugural Address Could Signal More Tax Hikes Ahead
Tami Luhby writes for CNNMoney, “Ronald Reagan did it. George W. Bush did it. On Monday, Barack Obama did it. Each president used an inaugural address to herald his intent to push tax changes during his term. Reagan and Bush were successful, but experts say Obama faces high hurdles to achieve the tax code revamp he has in mind. Still, the mention signals that Obama is not giving up on his desire to require tax revenue hikes to balance any spending cuts Republicans will demand in the looming deficit reduction battles.”

“Analysis: Obama Agenda Will Confront GOP on Debt”
The Associated Press reports, “President Barack Obama appealed for ‘one nation and one people’ in his second inaugural address. Any notion that the country’s bitter partisanship might fade, however, seemed tempered by the president’snewly assertive push of central Democratic tenets: safety-net programs for the poor, equal rights for gays and minorities and government spending on investments like schools and highways. Deficit spending, the president’s biggest conflict with Republicans, got only one passing mention. And he never uttered the word ‘debt.’ … His sharpest warning to Republicans began with his single acknowledgement of the fierce deficit-spending debate. ‘We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit,’ the president said. ‘But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.’ He specifically defended Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Although Obama has expressed a willingness to slow the growth of these costly programs, heseemed to caution Republicans to back off the deeper cuts they propose.”

“Obama Stands His Ground on Fiscal Debates”
Jim Kuhnhenn writes for The Associated Press, “President Barack Obama devoted one word – ‘deficit’ – to the issue that brought Washington to the brink of fiscal crises time and again during his first term. But it was the paragraph that followed in his inaugural address that foreshadowed what’s to come – more hard bargaining and more last-minute deals driven by Obama’s own conviction that he now wields an upper hand. ‘We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future,’ he said.”

“Obama dodges ‘hard choices’ on entitlements”
Carrie Budoff Brown editorializes in POLITICO, “President Barack Obama insisted four years ago that the nation must make ‘hard decisions’ to preserve entitlement programs. But on Monday, the ‘hard choices’ he spoke of on health care and the deficit came with a major caveat: He’s not willing to give up much. ‘The commitments we make to each other — through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security — these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us,’ Obama told the cheering crowd as he launched his second term. … The president has never precisely defined what hard choices he would be willing to make on Medicare and Social Security. It’s not even clear what he would do if he had the power to remake the programs on his own, without worrying about opposition from Republicans or Democrats.”

Gallup Poll: Dems Say Best Days Ahead, Republicans Say Best Days Behind Us
Gallup reports, “U.S. President Barack Obama begins his second term at a time when Americans are as negative about the state of the country and its prospects going forward as they have been in more than three decades. Fewer than four in 10 Americans (39%) rate the current status of the U.S. at the positive end of a zero to 10 scale. This is about the same as in 2010, but it is fewer than have said so at any point since 1979. As they usually are, Americans are more upbeat in their predictions of where the U.S. will be in five years (48% positive), but this is also lower than at any time since 1979. … Republicans overwhelmingly say that the best times are behind the country, while Democrats look ahead and say the best times are ahead.”

Payroll Tax Could Change Spending Habits
USA Today reports, “A payroll tax increase of 2 percentage points has hit workers who have received their first paychecks of the year, and has many determining how they will cut back in 2013. The tax increase came when Congress decided not to renew a temporary payroll tax reduction as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations at the end of December. The rate returned to 6.2% as a result. While the increase won’t likely have a significant impact overall on the economy, it could change buying habits and where people choose to shop, especially for lower-income households, economist Joel Naroff says.”